"We had no choice but to retreat, deep into the dark toward the gate, our shields glowing behind us, as we guardians fled. Our wards on the blue planet below would have to fend for themselves as the darkness approached."
--Pilous. Outer Reaches History. Vol IV
Brody Hart could not resist any longer. The restraining straps tugged against his chest and his body lifted from the contoured G-seat. The spiky haired woman, who had gruffly only identified herself as the Steward, had made a blunt point that no one was to remove their restraints and certainly not leave their seat. But then there had been a buzz in her Comm link fastened under her right ear and she had left Cabin B.
The exhilarating crushing take-off had been one thing, Brody's heart had been pounding with excitement through the count down until the large Hernadez Thrusters had quit firing, but now, zero gravity. Too iced. Too much. He could not resist.
Even a casual observer would take one look at Brody Hart, at the twinkling grey slate eyes, the mop of thick chestnut hair even more unruly than usual in the zero grav, and the tightly muscled frame squeezed into a junior silver jump suit and realized this boy does not like to sit still for long.
The grim Steward had been pretty emphatic, however the sway of adult rules on Brody tended to fade with proximity. So, if she had not expected Brody to comply, she should have stayed in the cabin and not floated out with such tantalizing grace. All he had to do was unbuckle quickly, go for a quick exhilarating swoop around and be back strapped in before the authorities were any the wiser. But Brody was not the only passenger in Cabin B. He pondered the snitch potential.
Brody, fascinated by watching the Earthside staff run through their countdown routine to poise the "Bradbury" for liftoff, hadn't been inclined to observe his other passengers before the huge engines had exploded to life. And, after lift off, his attention had been riveted to his floating eye level Comm display with its video coverage of the ships progress. He had seen the blue and friction of the earth atmosphere fade away to the carbon black shine of space.
In addition, although the cushioned seats in the cabin were paired, Brody was not sitting with any of the other travelers. As they had boarded ship, the Steward, who Brody realized immediately was not a trusting soul, had taken one look at the boy and declared, "Son you're going to sit with me."
There were four other passengers or 'prisoners' as Brody had begun to think of it in Cabin B. Across from Brody, but above eye level against the curving wall, were two young men in matching Lunar Base uniforms and tight hair cuts. With their athletic builds and confident air they could have been brothers except the Russia and USA nation badges on their respective left sleeves indicated otherwise. The cabin was shaped more like a tube than a cube and it had been disconcerting to watch the pair climb into their launch seats with ease to dangle almost upside down against the restraints. But as the auxiliary thrusters fired and the Bradbury tilted and spun to align for its voyage to the MLS, Mid Lunar Station, Brody realized the odd seat location no longer mattered. Up and down was now a subjective choice. With the ease of veteran travelers the pair had both dozed off right after Earth escape. No problem there.
To his right were what Brody assumed a mother and daughter pair, their shoulder emblems indicating the People's Republic of China. The girl, slight with somewhat sharp features, had to be around his age. She had been watching him intently since boarding and even when he had flashed what he liked to think of as a steely glare her way the expressive brown eyes studying him had not faltered. This could be trouble.
The Mother's eyes were similar to the little girls but were intently focused on a series of flashing digital images that floated in front of her at eye level. The personal Comm display was not set on private but from Brody's side view the images were still just a blurred montage of letters and numbers. Some kind of scientific or mathematical formula Brody figured and, thus, of no interest to him at all. And no matter what, Brody expected no problems there. He did well with mothers. Mom's loved him, a flash of dimples and a 'Yes Ma'am' always got him in the clear.
Now the man to his left was a bit of an enigma. What could be seen of the man's short cropped hair (Brody now realized that his own hair was the longest in the cabin if not the entire ship, females included) was silver and the dark face deeply lined, but nothing about the gentleman seemed old. The jumpsuit was plain, lacking any national emblem just sporting a Lunar Base insignia and the body that filled it trim and lean. Brody was reminded of few teachers he had sparred with in his nomadic scholastic career. This was someone who expected other people to do what they were told. Noted.
None of this mattered, of course. Brody's mind had been made up the first time that, gravity free, he had pressed upwards against his restraints. Such freedom could not be resisted.
With a couple quick snaps, his straps were released. And now just a quick graceful kick like the Steward at used to propel herself out of the cabin and he-
Brody slammed nearly face first into the far wall and only reflexes honed from years of Mag Boarding, pushing-the- edges-boarding with a lot of crashes, allowed him to roll his shoulder to soften the impact and, padded wall or not, saved a broken collar bone at least. He had barely missed the two young men as well but only the Russian cracked one eye open to glance at Brody, smirk and then return to his nap.
"Brody! Get back in your seat, you're going to get in trouble!" the girl said in a rather strident tone.
"Ying, what did Father and I tell you about being so bossy," the mother, waving her display closed, scolded. "Are you all right Young Man?"
Even though, arms and legs flailing, Brody found himself trapped up against the ceiling (or was it the floor?) he still managed a dimpled smile and a, "Yes Ma'am."
She smiled back.
"I just didn't think I would have swooshed so fast."
"What part of zero gravity did you not understand?" the girl named Ying scolded.
"The zero part I guess." Brody shrugged which set him spinning a bit.
"Ying really. But perhaps you should return to your seat," Ying's mother added kindly.
"Yes that is my plan."
Brody was just getting himself righted, the key being to forget up and down by picking a reference point, in this case his abandoned seat, and aiming for it. Just one slight push off the wall would do it he realized now. He was preparing for his journey back when a strong hand gripped his ankle.
"You were told to remain seated." Every part of the Steward, including her spiked hair, seem to bristle with anger. "Stop flopping around this minute!"
Brody went limp and allowed himself, like a wayward balloon, to be towed back to his seat.
"I'm sorry Dr. Pfeiffer," the Steward said to the gray haired man who had been watching all this impassively. "I had to help out in "A" we got a puker."
"That would be Garrett," Ying piped in. "He gets space sick just watching an Orbiter dock."
After being roughly strapped back into his seat, Brody face burning with embarrassment, closed his eyes and pretended to go to sleep. It had been a particularly hectic day and within a short time he really did doze off. And when he awoke, weight could be immediately felt on his body. Gravity had returned.
"The newest player to hit the Stick World Rankings this year was BAheartbreaker who is widely believe to be the twelve year old son of renowned scientists, Doctors Maya and Kismet Hart. It is very encouraging to see such a young person taking a prominent role in our sport and we expect an great things from him."
2056 Retro Gaming Review
Midway Lunar Station was a lot larger than Brody expected and the boy with the wavy russet hair clad in the pale silver jumpsuit standing by the observation port was a small pool of stillness in the bustling main module. When an Earth ship docked it seemed everyone had a job to do. Crew hustled to and fro muttering importantly into their Comms while a young man in the station's green uniform stood by Brody checking the cargo manifest in his holographic display as autonomous baggage carts passed for inspection. Normally Brody, one of his favorite hobbies watching someone else work, would have been all over this but he couldn't tear his eyes away from the scene outside the observation window.
Those who knew and remembered such things would observe that the Bradbury, the ship that had brought Brody to the MLS, with its hooked tapering front fuselage and swept back stubby wings, had an intriguing resemblance to the first supersonic passenger jet liner of nearly a century previous, the Concorde. Brody did not know this, all he knew was that the gleaming chrome vessel was beautiful.
"Brody you're probably wondering why we had to change ships instead of taking the Bradbury directly to the I.L.B.?"
Brody did not have to turn to know it was Ying the girl from Cabin B. He was, very immodestly, not surprised as girls would often follow him around.
"The Bradbury, you see the wings and sleek design, is designed for atmospheric landings and lift offs while the Clarke, the stubby one there that's being prepped and loaded for us, is specifically designed for Lunar landings." Ying seemed very keen, eyes gleaming as she got to impart some knowledge to the new boy.
"No I wasn't wondering about that at all," said Brody.
"Oh. Just that your face looked like it was confused about something."
"It does that quite often. I was wondering, though, how you know my name?"
"That is easy." Ying seemed slightly taken back. "Everyone knows you were coming to the Lunar Colony, excuse me, Base. And you have the United Nations insignia on your jumpsuit. Your parents, your family, are in a select group that organization have named Planetary Citizens. Lainie has the same patch."
"You know my sister?"
"She tutors me in Quantum Physics and Molecular Calibration."
"Of course she does."
The girl seemed speechless, for once, but just for a few seconds. "She's quite definitely brilliant."
Brody had quite definitely some opinions on this but he remained silent as he scouted two more boys their age approaching them. The boys had been walking together from the rest area and, although both wore Lunar Junior jumpsuits, Brody had a sense they weren't friends. They just didn't seem comfortable together.
And they did part ways before reaching Ying and Brody. The taller boy, long arms and legs quite monkey-like Brody noted, took himself and his unfortunate sneering resting face to lean, with studied nonchalance, against a wall some three meters away.
The boy who joined them was slightly shorter than Brody and slightly heavier. Brody had already performed what was now a habitual insignia check, Republic of Ireland, so the next things he noticed with this blond boy was that he had two different colored eyes, blue and green, and that he was very very pale.
"Garrett you look awful," Ying said bluntly. "If you are not done vomiting-"
Ah, Brody thought to himself, the Puker from Cabin A.
"Ying Ying, I am much better. Once I get my feet back on the ground I always feel better. It's just all that floating around. No horizon lines you know." Even talking about it made Garrett swallow heavily a few times.
"That was something I was wondering about," Brody said. "I didn't expect gravity here."
Ying and Garrett looked at Brody incredulously.
"This is him Ying?"
"It is him."
Garrett extended his hand. "Good day Brody I'm Garrett Cassidy."
They shook hands.
Garrett pointed to Ying. "She probably didn't introduce herself right?"
"Whatever, Garrett. I was going to just before you got here."
"This little beam of sunshine is Liang Ying. We're all going to be classmates at Lunar High."
"Uh huh," Brody grunted more than spoke.
"You are not supposed to call it Lunar High, it is the International Lunar Base Academy." Ying poked Garrett in the chest almost jokingly with an index finger while Garrett, now studying Brody closely, seemed to ignore her.
"Then if you are Brody Hart you must have been joking about the gravity thing right?"
It was Ying's turn to peer at Brody. "The Hart Gravitational Field which lead to the Hart Gravity Generator which your parents discovered and developed?"
"Oh that," said Brody.
"The reason we are not banging our heads on the ceiling and Garrett throwing up all over himself right now is because of your parents' revolutionary research. Research that lead to the discovery of the Hernandez Drive which made all this space travel practical so that we can get to the moon in hours and Mars in days." Ying's voice was raised with her passion for the subject, Garrett and Brody exchanged looks, but she was not yet finished.
" The Hart Gravitational Field is why the velocity energy of the approaching ships can be captured by the station and transferred-"
"Easy, easy Ying. I'm sure Brody knows all about this. He was just having a little fun, trying to get you going. And an excellent job he did too. Right Brody?"
Brody, who actually knew very little about his parents' work and had been not too much inclined to ask about it, simply said, "Sure."
All this time the other tall boy with the U.S.A. insignia during Ying's lecture/tirade had remained silent and aloof but Garrett noticed Brody looking in that direction.
Garrett leaned in closer to whisper in Brody's ear. "That's Roland Russell. I hear he doesn't like Ying too much. Go figure. He was Earthside because his grandmother just died."
"It was his Grandfather," Ying corrected.
"On my Earth break I got my Co-op in at the Belfast Zoo. Did a lot of work with the Guinea baboons."
"Like a family reunion," Ying added.
"Ying went to Charm School. I hope her family gets a refund."
"Interned at a Particle Accelerator facility in Houston actually," Ying said. "And, from what I hear, it is Garrett that Roland does not like."
"Let's face it I don't think Roland likes anyone whose parents aren't in the STK." Garrett took pity once more on Brody's growing confusion and he moved closer to whisper again. "S.T.K. Share the knowledge. It's a long story, I'll explain later."
The Autonomous Carts continued to roll freight and baggage past them but now Brody realized that the pallets weren't really rolling but floating. Some kind of field, if not the famous Hart field maybe a magnetic field, Brody figured, which made him think of his Mag Board. He started to look for the cart containing his baggage aware that his companions continued to talk but not really listening.
"So Garrett what did you find?"
"He's standing right here Ying. Really."
"He will not mind. Right Brody?"
Brody was drawn back to the conversation. "Huh?"
"I had Garrett do a little research on you. You know papers published, research studies you took part in and so on. I know Lainie, on the way to her first doctorate, had a number of fascinating papers in some prestigious publications."
"I see," Brody said. Lainie always had her nose buried in some book for sure.
"Well?" Ying glared at Garrett.
"Well?" Brody smiled at Garrett.
"No papers. No studies. No science fair projects. Nothing."
Brody shrugged. "Sounds right."
"Well, I did come across a couple weird things," Garrett mumbled.
"Stick Gaming?" Brody asked, the conversation suddenly interesting to him once more.
"What is Stick Gaming?"
An indignant Ying looked back and forth between the two boys. Brody realized that this was someone who did not like having to admit ignorance on any subject. Someday he would have to explain to her how easy it could be once you got used to it.
"Stick Gaming refers to retro historical video games that, instead of Virtual Reality, still use a manual controller, a joystick," Garrett said, "Hence Stick Gaming. Someone named Brody Hart is top ranked apparently."
"That would be me."
"Games," Ying said flatly.
"Did they mention Mag Boarding?" Brody asked. He had finally spotted his stuff.
"Actually yes they did."
Ying looked ready to explode. "What is Mag-"
But Brody had already walked away.
"I love the smooth science of a sweet glide but the real jolt is to be found on the jagged edges just before you crash."
Esmeralda Sanchez, early Mag Board pioneer.
If a person stepped in front of the Autonomous Cart, the AI would pause it for a moment to see what the human wanted and if you didn't move away the field shut down and the cart dropped to the floor. What Brody wanted, its shimmering curved tail jutting out from the luggage, was his Mag Board.
A Mag Board with its gleaming ridged carbalum frame and contoured black rubber footboard was a beautiful thing to Brody and his heart always hit a higher gear when he got to hold the board in his hands. In the sterile atmosphere of this strange place so far from home Brody felt most unlike himself, he felt small and, frankly, just a little afraid. But now with his board, Brody felt better already.
Two green lights pulsed in the small recessed control panel by the board's flipped up tail. Ready to go.
All the Mag Board needed was a smooth non porous surface to glide on, and although a little cluttered, the main module of the station presented a near perfect prescription for a sweet glide. Brody ran his fingers over the controls and the board hummed to life.
Calibrated to his weight and stance, the board generated a magnetic field from the frame and projected a matching field to the smooth surface below, the result a board that hovered a few inches aloft. Now friction-less, it only took a quick push off by Brody's shoe on the floor to send him zooming across the deck past Ying and Garrett.
"Whoah!" Garrett exclaimed.
Balanced on the board, Brody drifted the floor, slaloming effortlessly around carts and a few alarmed station crew. As the nearest wall loomed into view, it seemed he was going much too quickly. But, as Brody leaned back on the board and tip lifted, the Mag field caught the wall and he rode a good meter up the vertical surface before flipping off to complete the 180 on the floor and begin gliding back to where he started from.
With minimal effort and shifts of weight Brody could have continued to do this indefinitely but, just in his peripheral vision, he noticed Garrett waving his arms in warning before pointing toward one of the exits. The modules of the station were connected by a series of tubes and, down the tunnel that linked the main capsule and the docking zone, walked the Steward and that stern Doctor fellow from the Bradbury.
Brody's exhilaration and courage from his board run promptly faded and he decided it would be best to get his board back on the cart. Leaning almost perpendicular to the floor without falling off, Brody finessed the board into a pivot and a quick toe tap added a little extra speed toward his baggage. It would be close, but Brody calculated he would get everything stowed away with a few seconds to spare.
The Roland kid was now standing by the cart but Brody thought nothing of it until the smirking boy reached under the AI junction box. The cart hummed and lifted off the deck. Brody still had no real concern as, if even the deliberate cart started to continue its journey, because it didn't move too quickly, he would have no problem catching it. But then, as he almost reached the cart, the field from his Mag Board collided with the cart's lift pulse.
There was a violent snap and a tremendous surge directly under Brody's feet. He and his board soared upwards and back. Brody should have fallen off but his instant reaction to grab the base of the board with his hand which, with his rather uncanny sense of balance, kept him precariously balanced on the board.
Divided between terror and invigoration, Brody thought, I can do this. And he had almost regained full control when he and his board slammed into the Dr. Pfeiffer and the Steward.
No one was really injured. There was that. But only Brody seemed to appreciate this fact once everyone had regained their footing.
"What, what were you doing? You you..." The Steward's hands folded into fists.
As Brody bent to pick up his board, luckily undamaged, he looked toward the cart and to Roland but the tall boy had vanished. So Brody shrugged.
The Steward looked ready for violence but a gentle tap on her shoulder by Pfeiffer seemed to calm her immediately.
"Young Man when we get to the ILB we are going to have a very constructive conversation." Dr Pfeiffer had finally spoken to Brody. His voice was deceptively soft but Brody had no illusions.
The older man now turned to the Steward. "I believe you have a message for our acrobat?"
The Steward still fumed but finally managed to blurt out, "You have an U.C.R. Waiting for you."
Doctor Pfeiffer had already began to walk away, not deigning to look back. The Steward, gingerly rubbing an elbow, soon joined him.
"Sir, I do not envy you having to deal with that boy full time."
Ying and Garrett, who had been trying to look as innocent as possible standing by the observation portal, waited for the authorities to leave before running over to Brody.
"Are you some kind of anarchist?" Ying asked.
"That was amazing," Garret gushed.
They had just joined Brody as he slipped his board back in place. The cart seemed to give a beep of relief before continuing on its way.
"What's a U.C.R. And why am I getting one?" Brody asked.
"Did they keep you locked up in the basement? Because I am starting to understand why they would." Ying turned to Garrett. "Do you still think he is joking. He does not know ANYTHING."
"U C R. Umrani Relay Communications. Named after Dr. Umrani-"
"Uncle Sanaullah? My parents play Bridge with him all the time."
Garret nodded. "That's the fella. You got a call waiting for you Brody."
"That is if Dr. Pfeiffer lets him take it," Ying said in dramatic tones.
"He has no authority here Ying. I think."
"Oh that's the sour apple I had my little accident with? What's his deal exactly?"
Garrett prepared to explain once more but Ying happily interrupted, "Oh please let me do this one. Doctor Amose Pfeiffer. He is the man designated to be in charge of the International Lunar Base including the International Lunar Base Academy which you are about to attend."
Brody nodded slowly. Figures. "So he is like the principal then? It usually takes at least half a semester for a school principal to hate me."
Garrett patted Brody on the back. "You're on a roll."
"The whole conceit that the incredibly complex and delicate technology that enables near instantaneous communication across the great distances could be used for some sort of Faster Than Light travel or even teleportation is in the realm of fantasy and a needless distraction when there are so many other important areas of research to improve inter planetary travel."
Dr. Sanaullah Umrani, inventor of the Umrani Communications Relay
The comfortable contoured V.R. Chair in the Communications Room was state of the art so, when the chat began, Brody felt that he was in the same room as his parents even though they were halfway to Mars. He had a brief moment to compose himself which was good since he was wondering how much news of his recent activities had reached the good Doctors Hart.
The holographic image of Kismet Hart, Brody's father, long legs jutting out uncomfortably from the low chair, only looked up for a moment to wink at Brody before returning to some work on his Comm display. It had been only a few weeks since he had seen his father but Brody was sure in the thick unruly hair that Brody had inherited he could see a few more strands of gray.
Hologram mother Maya Hart was just taking the time to gaze at her son with what an observer would assume was maternal adoration but to Brody was more a look indicating she was assessing some scientific puzzle. The petite, still very athletic woman in her late thirties, waited a few more seconds before smiling, revealing the dimples that were one of her many genetic gifts to her son.
Brody relaxed. The smile, with the dimples because when Maya forced a smile the dimples were AWOL, was real and meant things were good. Apparently bad news didn't always travel fast even if it was by UCR.
"So how was your first space flight Brody?" Maya asked.
"Did you get to try out some zero gravity?" Kismet asked.
"Just a little."
"Yes they try to limit your exposure during the lunar flights for safety concerns," Kismet said. "My moon trips, I always told them I had to go to the toilet, so they had to let me up and about."
"Don't give him ideas Kismet," Maya waved a finger at her husband. "You must be excited to see your sister. It's been nearly six months."
"If you two would just give each other a chance you could get along just fine." Maya's tone was more hopeful than certain.
Kismet smiled at Maya and patted her hand, his attention finally totally focused on the conversation. "We're so sorry, Son, the way this all happened so quickly. But when the Zharkovs got the mumps and had to drop out at the last minute we had to jump at the chance of being true pioneers with the first Mars Colony."
"Mars Base," Maya gently corrected.
"Base yes. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity." Kismet leaned forward, his passion seeping into his voice.
"I'm sure it's a big deal but what about my life? I don't see why I couldn't stay Earthside. Anabelle's parents offered to take me."
"Honey we've been over this a hundred times," Maya said. "Anabelle's parents seem like very nice people and I know how much you liked living in Paris but, let's be frank, keeping you under control is a little above their pay grade."
"Maya really." Kismet shook his head and made a little apologetic face to Brody.
"Mother what's that supposed to mean?"
"All right Brody Bear even if we dismiss the last six months and the three schools you've had to transfer out of and we'll just say, we feel this is a time you should be with family and, as you can see, we're going to Mars so that leaves Lainie."
"But Lainie hates me."
Kismet laughed. "Brode, Lainie doesn't hate you. She just doesn't understand you."
"So I'm just supposed to leave everything behind. My friends, my boarding, my gaming?" Brody thought for a moment, looking down a the VR chair that he was seated in. "Hey, this URC thing is pretty instantaneous."
"UCR," Maya said quickly.
Brody thought his mother and Ying would get along just like old chums with their marked keenness to correct people.
Kismet, although a busy man, had always tried to keep up on Brody's hobbies, particularly the interests that didn't require the authorities to be involved. "You're thinking of streaming your games, that this might overcome the delay from Earth to the moon, so you can play. No lag."
"The UCR is normally reserved for important conversations," Maya said.
"Doctor Pfeiffer might be able to help," Kismet offered. "He's the big Poohbah in charge of the base."
"Yes," Maya said. "You must meet with him soon as you can. He could be very helpful."
"I've already bumped into him here on the station," Brody said.
His mother nodded with satisfaction. "Well that's good."
"Uh huh, I guess."
Maya's keen Mom instincts kicked in. "Why is that not good? What did you do Brody?"
"Maya, why must every conversation with the boy turn into an interrogation?" Kismet came to the rescue as a red light began to pulse in the upper right corner of Brody's display.
"Time's almost up," Kismet said. "We got to go. Love you Buddy."
"Yes, I love you so much and I will be thinking of you everyday." Maya blew him a kiss.
Brody nodded but did not say anything as his parents faded away and he was left sitting alone in the Communications Room of Mid Lunar Station.
"The whole premise of this so called 'classic' novel is faulty and frivolous and as a rational scientific person the concept of 'magic' defying the known bounds of physics is repugnant. Flying broomsticks indeed! I respectfully submit that for future projects I may read a classic scientific treatise, list enclosed."
Book report, Lainie Hart, aged 7
Brody knew enough about the International Lunar Base that, iceberg like, a lot of it was tunneled below the surface, but even what was visible as the Clarke made its final landing approach was impressive. A sprawling conglomerate of domes and linking tubes, as if a gigantic space station had been dissected and dropped on the barren lunar surface, the base was a patch of man-made regularity among the uneven craters and jagged rock formations of the Moon.
He had ample opportunity to observe the approaching station undisturbed as Brody, well secured into his seat, was the only passenger in Cabin D of Lunar Passenger Shuttle Clarke. The Clarke's Steward, a short balding rather chubby man, had said very little to Brody just motioning him to follow as they walked past Cabins A, B, and C as the other passengers were already taking their seats.
Brody was glad to be free of Ying and Pfeiffer who had both given him disapproving stares from 'A'. He was slightly amused to see that Garrett and Roland were paired in 'B'. Brody wouldn't have minded to ride with Garrett, the Irish boy probably would be fun enough company once separated from the sanctimonious Ying.
But Brody particularly would have liked to have been seated beside Roland Russell. It would have been an excellent opportunity to conduct a little scientific experiment to see what impact repeated slaps to the head would have in zero gravity. It had never occurred to Brody to tell anyone about Roland's role in the incident aboard the station and no one else, so busy watching Brody's wild ride, had seemed to notice. Brody didn't rat on people and he liked to fight his own battles.
So Brody was alone as the thrusters on the Clarke, a much bigger and ungainly ship compared to the Bradbury, twisted and turned above the Lunar surface and slowly began to drop to the landing pad below. Brody was about to step out on to another world, a new life.
There were numerous flashing notices in the LCD wall displays along the tube connecting the ship to the base, warning of the upcoming gravity change but Brody, skipping along in the light native Lunar gravity still nearly stumbled once the full Earth grav took hold.
Then Brody saw his sister Lainie waiting for him in the Base Embarking Zone and he felt even heavier. Downright crushed once he realized that Ying and Dr. Pfeiffer had already reached his sister. He wouldn't even have a chance to put a proper spin on the previous events. Not that Lainie ever believed him anyway.
Physically no one would have trouble accepting that Brody and Lainie, with their thick chestnut hair and arresting gray eyes, were brother and sister. But also to observe their awkward first meeting in over a half year was to see two young people very uncomfortable with each other.
"Hello Lainie." Brody noted with some satisfaction that he was now taller than Lainie even though she was five years older than him.
"I believe you have met Ying and Dr. Pfeiffer already?" Lainie pointed to her companions. Brody did not like Ying's smirk at all.
Pfeiffer nodded and said, "Brody, once Dr. Hart-"
The Base Commander, one could tell, did not like being interrupted. "Doctor Hart, Lainie, your sister, once she has you settled in your quarters please drop by my office."
"Yes, Sir he will be there," Lainie answered for Brody.
Pfeiffer prepared to leave but noticed Ying, arms crossed, was prepared to linger. "Come on Ying, Min is waiting."
Ying's mother stood at the end of the corridor but, with a glassy expression that reminded Brody much of his father, was once more engrossed in what wonders her hovering graphics revealed.